C a r S p o t # 9
You'll find a theme with classic Alfa Romeo cars that strikes a cord with car lovers of that era. Between 1950 & 1960 Alfa Romeo would produce some of the world's most elegant & high-performing automobiles. With lines and profiles that clear defined the brand's design philosophy as distinctly different from that of easiest comparator Ferrari with it's choice of Red as a predominant finish. Alpha Romeo's bodywork was quintessentially more rounded and curvy than its rivals. Strikingly high cylindrical fenders leading to headlamps, curved/rounded front windscreen, side windows & rear windscreens plus more sculpted curves on the body panels similar to, but different from the E-type, signature circular alloy spoke holes, understated clean looking interiors and generally more compact lightweight models that typically seamed to draw your eyes towards a front-end meeting point where the lines, contours & profile converge together behind the all to familiar cross & serpent badge.
Observe cars like the 6C 2500"Villa D'este", Giulietta SZ"Coda Tronca", Giulia TZ all the way to the pinnacle (in my humble of opinion) of the Alfa Romeos classic era the 33 Stradale. You'll see this philosophy. I was taken a back when I stumbled upon this mint Sprint Speciale. Purchase prices for this stunner reach as high as £140k, so to see and touch one is such condition is a very rare treat!
There were two versions of this model with similar namesakes. The Giulia & the Giulietta. The Giulia is the daddy of the two, with a slightly bigger 1.6L engine over the Giulietta's 1.3L. This updgrade allowed the Giulia to go up to 130mph with a 1570cc engine producing 112bhp at 84kW. By comparison the Giulietta came with a 1290cc engine producing 100bhp at 75kW. A considerable difference but nothing that takes anything away from the majesty of both models. If your in the market for either version these stats aren't going to deter you one bit as you're not likely to take to a track or attempt to beat a modern 1.6 or higher vehicle at the lights. Having said that, its worth noting that in it's day the Sprint Speciale was no slouch. The engine and gearbox came directly out of the race orientated Giulietta Sprint Zagato & with a quarter mile time of 17.5secs, the SS was indeed a very high performance precision instrument. Only available to a select clientele that was able to lay they hands on one of the limited 1366 units produced. However nowadays I feel discussing performance of classic vehicles is irrelevant given the staggering capabilities of modern super & hypercars. The heritage & history of Alfa Romeo & the Sprint Speciale is far more romantic & relevant.
The Sprint Speciale was designed by the uncompromising genius of Franco Scaglione. Responsible for the Porsche-Abarth Carrara GTL, Maserati 3500 GT Coupe, Arnolt-Aston Martin DB2/4 and more than 13 Alfa Romeos including the 33 Stradale. Scaglione's personal history is quite inspirational, but when it comes to car design, he was clearly not interested in designing economic everyday cars. His passion lay in creating conceptual and truly sensually themed automobiles that captured his own romantic sentiment. It's little wonder fate paired him with Alfa Romeo were you'll see his influence across this era. Echos of his genius can be beyond Alpha Romeo. His Porsche 356 B Abarth Carrera GTL is the foundation for which the 911 is based. His Lamborghini 350 GTV provided Lamborghini with its first production model.
The SS is nippy vehicle of its day with a low kerb weight (with fluids) of 860kg owing to aluminium doors, bonnet & boot lid connected to a steel chassis. Step back and observe the almost bullet-like silhouette of the car & combines clear how it achieved a remarkable drag coefficient on 0.28 and held it for 20 years! Which is staggering when you consider the frequency at which cars are released each year. This model is a 2nd stage release or "Tipo 101.20". You can tell by the polished front & rear bumpers that appear to compliment and almost aid aero-capability & styling rather than present as a safety feature. Small but elegant details like the front wind deflectors and vertically mounted circular standing wing mirrors & polished central bonnet aluminium trim further demonstrate the era's unique design aesthetics that make the Sprint Speciale extremely 'special!' The rear windscreen is yet another aesthetic marvel. curved and domed to further aid the drag co-efficiency, & a clue as to why it took so long to beat the SS's aero achievement. Simply put, no one else made rear windscreens like this and sadly neither did Alfa Romeo after the 60's era. The 70's would see cues for a modern era where the company would adopted more a angular, brutish no non-sense approach as their cars where adopted by the police, military and government officials as their supplier of official vehicles. Whilst this brought respect & stability to Alpha Romeo it invariably meant the feminine sensuality of the Scaglione era that gave birth to what many consider to be some of the most beautiful cars ever created.
Production 1957 to 1962
Transmission - RWD (rear-wheel drive), manual 5-speed gearbox
Engine - Alfa Romeo Twin Cam engine 1.3L or 1.6L
0- 60 mph 10.1secs
Top Speed - 124 mph
Dimensions: length: 4120 mm / width: 1660 mm / wheelbase: 2250 mm
Production - 1,366 units